Gender Equality and Women’s Agency
Gender justice is central to Oxfam’s work in Vietnam. The vision for our women’s rights programme is that poor and marginalised women, particularly women of different social and ethnic groups, gain more power over their lives and are able to take leadership roles and contribute actively to decision-making.
Despite a strong legal framework on gender equality, women in Vietnam continue to experience discrimination and stereotyping and often lack economic and political opportunities at the household, community and national levels. More than half of married women have experienced physical, emotional or sexual domestic violence, and the bulk of unpaid care and household work is taken care of by women. Many women do not have an equal voice in decisions that affect their lives, and there are few female political leaders.
What we want to achieve
Our Gender Equality and Women’s Agency goal seeks to achieve four objectives:
- Challenging and changing gender stereotypes and ending discrimination in both the public and private spheres. Among other things, this includes addressing the unequal division of labour between men and women within the household and eliminating barriers that prevent women from assuming leadership roles.
- Encouraging individual female and male leaders, civil society, government organisations and the private sector to play an active role in advancing women’s leadership.
- Supporting women to occupy leadership positions in the local community and at the national level, thereby providing them with opportunities to bring about change.
- Strengthening the implementation of gender-related laws and policies, including the Gender Equality Law, the Law on Domestic Violence Prevention, and the National Gender Equality Strategy.
How we achieve it
We conduct research on topics related to gender equality, discrimination and women’s leadership. The findings from this research inform our advocacy work to influence policy makers’ perceptions and behaviour concerning women’s rights. Multi-stakeholder campaigns and cooperation with media partners help to raise public awareness and change public perception on gender differences and women’s abilities, thereby increasing support for women’s rights.
We also strengthen civil society networks working on gender issues, linking gender inequality with other forms of inequality. We link Vietnamese civil society to international organisations and help to build a broad alliance in support of women’s rights. In addition, we facilitate cooperation and dialogue between government agencies and civil society, helping to raise the voice of women in policy discussions.
Oxfam uses gender-sensitive design and management tools in all of our projects. The Women Empowerment Mainstreaming, Advocacy and Networking (WEMAN) framework and the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) methodology, are used at the start of project analysis and throughout each project cycle. These tools, an improved form of participatory rural appraisal (PRA), are used separately with men and women to make explicit the imbalance in relationships and workload and reveal the barriers preventing women from truly participating and taking leadership. The WEMAN framework goes beyond promoting women’s agency to build understanding between men and women and work with mixed groups to look for consensus and collaboration. Oxfam’s interventions target changing attitudes and practices of men, as well as a broader public acknowledgement of the value of women’s contributions to equitable and inclusive development.
We work closely with a number of partners to achieve our goals. At the national level, this includes the National Assembly; the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs; the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; the Ministry of Information and Communication; and the National Committee for the Advancement of Women. At the provincial level we work with local authorities and mass organisations such as the Women’s Union, Farmers’ Union and Youth Union. We also collaborate with local and international NGOs, national and international gender networks, UN agencies and the media.
Working together with our partners, we are implementing a number of projects focused on achieving women’s rights. These focus on:
- Promoting women’s political leadership
- Challenging gender stereotypes in the media
- Integrating gender equality and women’s rights into our projects on economic empowerment and value chain development
- Women rights and gender equality are mainstreamed in other programmes and projects
Linking from the local to global level, Oxfam’s Achieving Women’s Rights programme in Vietnam is part of the following regional and global programmes and campaigns:
- Oxfam Global Women’s rights campaign
- Gender Transformative and Responsible Agribusiness Investment in South East Asia (GRAISEA)
- Oxfam Global Inequality Campaign “Even it Up”
- Oxfam Global GROW campaign